As I was thinking about the quickly approaching New Year and what new, or old, goals I could set I realized that I haven’t blogged in a while. Somehow, things no longer seem real unless I post them somewhere on social media (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about – there’s too many posts out there to suggest otherwise).
It’s actually been an eventful couple of months health-wise. Shortly after returning from my inspiring visit to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado (see my previous posts on Olympic Goals and Heart of a Champion) a pain in my shoulder that I had been ignoring too long started to get worse. So, I made a trip to the doctor’s office after Thanksgiving. After explaining my pain to her and describing a incident on Thanksgiving regarding a kick ball game with the family, my head, and a back stop support bar (ouch) she said, “you know, even though you are at a low heart attack risk maybe we should take an EKG just to check things out.” I thought for a minute and said, “sure, why not. What’s the harm?”
Well, the EKG came back with a concerning result. Though my heart rhythm was strong there was an abnormality. So a stress test was ordered then cancelled because that wouldn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Then an echocardiogram stress test was ordered. We didn’t ever get to the stress test because the cardiogram showed what we needed to find. I had “reduced heart function.” In short, sometime in the past 11 years (since my last EKG) I had a heart attack.
Now, I don’t know exactly when this heart attack occurred. It could have been over Thanksgiving this year when I felt crappy after my collision with the support bar. I think it’s more likely to have occurred in January 2017 when I had a significant Crohn’s attack and pain unlike anything I had ever had before. I likely falsely attributed my pain and cramps to dehydration caused by the severe diarrhea and vomiting I experienced. Plus, some of the warning signs of heart attack are the same as those I experience from Crohn’s and it is even possible that my Crohn’s directly hit my heart. Very rare – but still possible.
So, in short (I know, too late to be a short story), I’m seeing a cardiologist in January. Like, I presume, many others I am now taking a statin drug in the evening and a low dosage aspirin (approved by my gastroenterologist of course) in the morning. Along with my usual array of vitamins. Also, doing as much cardio as possible though I’m no longer pushing to failure, which I really wasn’t doing anyway. This is all the easy part.
The hard part is changing my diet again. Though I’ve always had low overall cholesterol my HDL/LDL ratios have been off for a long time. This combined with my high triglyceride level is a problem. So I’m watching what goes into my mouth closer. Need to lower the bad fats and raise the good fats. More fish and vegetables and less red meat and fried foods – the Mediterranean diet in popular parlance.
Italy is on the Mediterranean right? So I’m assuming unlimited pasta and sauces…what? Limit pasta? Really? Bummer.
At least I still have doughnuts.
What? Oh come on!
P.S. regarding the shoulder pain that sent me to the doctor’s office in the first place, I have a small muscle tear. No surgery – just exercise. That, I can handle!